• Ian Knighton

Falling in Love with Soccer in the Slowest Way Possible

It's the summer of 2006. I'm 21 years old, working in a (now defunct) big-box electronics store installing car stereos. I work with a group of "cool" guys that I went to high school with. We have access to the absolute best in televisions and cable providers and the coolest guys in the room are smart enough to turn every TV in the building the a different match broadcast. I watch for a few minutes here and there, make a joke or two about diving, and generally go about my business.


The United States Men's National Team don't make it out of the group stage. Pablo Mastroeni doesn't have a mustache and neither do I.


Fast forward to the summer of 2010. I've got my first "adult" job working for a sub-contractor at a government facility. I'm no longer surrounded by walls of televisions, but I am surrounded by the ever growing presences of social media. I don't know if I watched a game or not, but I do have nightmares about vuvuzelas.


The United States Men's National Team make it to the knockout stage and are beaten by Ghana 2-1. Benny Feilhaber is starting to grow a mustache and so am I.


Now we're in 2014. I've bounced around through various tech jobs and ended up working at a small startup. We have super fast internet and I have three monitors. The time difference between Brazil and Idaho is very favorable for me. I watch every single game I can on one monitor and work off of the other two. I go home at night and look up all the Laws of the Game and try to figure out what the heck is going on.


The United States Men's National Team make it to the knockout stage and are beaten by Belgium 2-1. Kyle Beckerman has dreadlocks and plays for a professional team 3 hours south of me.


We make one more hop, to 2016. I've been casually following MLS and international soccer; Listening to podcasts about the sport and quickly coming up to speed with the nuance and intricacies of the game. While visiting some friends in Colorado with my (now) wife, we are invited to a "weekend of soccer" which included a Rapids match, an El Clásico at an absolutely packed soccer pub, and a not insignificant amount of beer. That same year, I'm back in Colorado in the fall for the MLS Western Conference Semifinal between the Rapids and LA Galaxy.


I haven't much cared for any other sport since.